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UK Holidays to France market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Holidays to France market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

What you need to know

The number of holidays to France increased by around 10% in 2017. This cancelled out the 10% fall seen in the previous year in the wake of the 2015/16 wave of terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice. However there has been an underlying decline in the UK source market over the past decade. Current trip volumes are still down by 1.5 million on 2007, and expenditure growth is heavily lagging behind the overseas holiday market as a whole.

In an era of cheap flights, all-inclusive package deals and unparalleled destination choice for travellers, France is no longer the automatic choice for a holiday abroad that it once was. Its reputation as a relatively expensive place to visit is a doubleedged sword – helping to project an upmarket, sophisticated image, but likely to deter visitors in a period of rising living costs and a weak Pound. However, the destination retains some strong pull factors – gastronomy, diversity of regions and tourism products, and its accessibility by a range of transport options.

Covered in this report

This report covers holidays taken by UK consumers to France, both short breaks (one to three nights) and longer holidays (four to seven nights). Trips taken for business purposes, visiting friends and family and other purposes are not included.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Worthington, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

France needs to promote two contrasting messages to UK visitors; the first is being a slow and sensuous destination which offers a tranquil escape from the modern, over-busy, ‘always connected’ world, he second highlighting a vibrant, quirky, dynamic and contemporary country. John Worthington
Senior Travel Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • Holidays to France recover from 2016 shock but long-term market share still down
            • Figure 1: Forecast of holidays to France, by volume, 2012-22
          • One in five adults have holidayed in France in past five years
            • Figure 2: Participation in holidays to France, November 2017
          • Paris most popular location, but wide distribution of UK visitors
            • Figure 3: Regions in France visited on holiday in the past 5 years, November 2017
          • Niche holiday opportunities
            • Figure 4: Types of holiday taken in France in the past 5 years, November 2017
          • Sharing economy is drawing a new generation of travellers
            • Figure 5: Types of accommodation used for holidays in France, November 2017
          • Seven-month booking window
            • Figure 6: Month of booking and taking last holiday in France, November 2017
          • Potential to promote rural retreats
            • Figure 7: Main attractions of France as a holiday destination, November 2017
          • Pace of life both a draw and a deterrent
            • Figure 8: Further attitudes towards holidays to France, November 2017
          • What we think
          • Issues and Insights

            • No-fly France remains a key selling-point despite rise in air travel
              • The facts
                • The implications
                  • Singles potential
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Families on tour
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Budget families
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Holidays to France regain momentum
                                      • 60% of trips remain ‘no-fly’ but air travel up 24% over the past two years
                                        • Over-65s are fastest growing visitor segment
                                          • Overseas holiday market hits record levels but growth now slowing
                                            • Influx of British tourists to Spain may offer opportunity for France
                                              • Expensive reputation may be a problem
                                                • Atout France takes sensory approach
                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                  • Holidays to France recovered in 2017 but long-term trend still down
                                                      • Figure 9: Holidays to France market, by volume and value, 2012-22
                                                    • Le nouveau normal
                                                      • Forecast
                                                        • Figure 10: Forecast of holidays to France, by volume, 2012-22
                                                        • Figure 11: Forecast of holidays to France, by value, 2012-22
                                                    • Segment Performance

                                                      • Packages in decline
                                                        • Figure 12: Volume of holidays to France, independently booked versus package trips, 2012-17
                                                      • Air travel on the rise
                                                          • Figure 13: Volume of holidays to France, by mode of travel, 2012-17
                                                        • Short breaks offer highest spend per day
                                                          • Figure 14: Holidays to France, by volume, value, number of nights and average spend per night/day, by trip duration, 2016
                                                        • Over-55s are highest spenders
                                                          • Figure 15: Volume of holidays to France, by age, 2016
                                                          • Figure 16: Percentage volume of holidays to France, by age, 2011-16
                                                      • Market Background

                                                        • Consumer habits becoming more deal-oriented
                                                          • Overseas holidays reach record high but growth rates slowing
                                                            • Figure 17: Domestic and overseas holiday volume and expenditure, 2012-17
                                                          • Spain has seen big increase in market share
                                                              • Figure 18: Top 10 overseas holiday destinations, by number of trips, 2012-17
                                                            • Pound stays weak but has stabilised
                                                              • Figure 19: Spot exchange rate, Pound Sterling vs euro and US$, June 2016-January 2018
                                                            • France overtakes Italy as most expensive European destination
                                                                • Figure 20: Worldwide holiday resort costs*, 2014-18
                                                              • Driving costs have risen but are still lower than five years ago
                                                                • Figure 21: Motoring costs per 1,000 miles, 2013-17
                                                              • New transport developments
                                                                • Air
                                                                  • Rail
                                                                    • Ferry
                                                                      • #FeelFrance
                                                                        • Sporting chance
                                                                          • Green France
                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation – What You Need to Know

                                                                            • Eurostar entertainment
                                                                              • New holiday parks
                                                                                • Visitor attractions
                                                                                  • Golf opportunity
                                                                                    • Design hotels
                                                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                      • Eurostar Odyssey
                                                                                        • Disney meets Center Parcs
                                                                                          • Disneyland Paris reaches 25
                                                                                            • New holiday village in Normandy
                                                                                              • New visitor attractions
                                                                                                • Golf tourism
                                                                                                  • Shopping in Lyon
                                                                                                    • New design hotels targeting Millennials
                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                      • France number one choice for AB travellers
                                                                                                        • Special interest, cruise and escorted tours offer opportunities
                                                                                                          • Boomers under-represented in luxury hotels
                                                                                                            • Airbnb attracting new generation of travellers
                                                                                                              • Bookings peak from February to August
                                                                                                                • Food & drink and landscape are biggest draws
                                                                                                                  • Laid back, but lacking excitement
                                                                                                                  • Experience of Holidaying in France

                                                                                                                    • Consumer penetration stays flat at 21%
                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Participation in holidays to France, November 2017
                                                                                                                    • France appeals to a younger crowd
                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Demographic profile of those who have taken holidays to France, Spain and Italy in the past 5 years, November 2017
                                                                                                                    • France attracting more ABs and families than main rivals
                                                                                                                      • Future potential
                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Interest in visiting France on holiday in future, November 2017
                                                                                                                    • Regions of France Visited on Holiday

                                                                                                                      • Paris, south east & south west most visited
                                                                                                                        • Solo travellers head to the city
                                                                                                                          • North West has strongest family bias
                                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Regions in France visited on holiday in the past 5 years, November 2017
                                                                                                                        • Types of Holiday Taken in France

                                                                                                                          • City break is top but France has broad tourism mix
                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Types of holiday taken in France in the past 5 years, November 2017
                                                                                                                            • Other cities have benefited slightly from Paris’s decline
                                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Types of holiday taken in France, November 2015 versus November 2017
                                                                                                                            • Visitors heading for the country
                                                                                                                              • Families attracted by a range of holiday types
                                                                                                                                • Special interest potential
                                                                                                                                • French Holiday Accommodation

                                                                                                                                  • Under-45s prefer broadest mix of hotel types
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Types of accommodation used for holidays in France, November 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Airbnb appeals to under-35s
                                                                                                                                    • Families on a budget may opt for ‘Frenchcation’
                                                                                                                                    • Holiday Booking and Departure Times

                                                                                                                                      • Main booking window is February to August
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Month of booking and taking last holiday in France, November 2017
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Month of taking last holiday in France, family versus non-family, November 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Main Holiday Attractions of France

                                                                                                                                      • Gastronomy & landscape are leading attractions
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Main attractions of France as a holiday destination, November 2017
                                                                                                                                        • C’est chic
                                                                                                                                          • Shopping a draw for younger city breakers
                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Holidays to France

                                                                                                                                            • ‘No-fly destination’ still an important selling-point despite rise in air travel
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Agreement with attitudes towards holidays to France, November 2017
                                                                                                                                              • Rail potential
                                                                                                                                                • Families most sensitive to weak Pound and security concerns
                                                                                                                                                  • The Francophiles
                                                                                                                                                    • French way of life seen as an attractive quality
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Further attitudes towards holidays to France, November 2017
                                                                                                                                                    • France lacks buzz for Millennials
                                                                                                                                                      • Diversity could be more strongly promoted
                                                                                                                                                        • Contrasting slow/fast messages needed
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Target groups, based on attitudes towards holidays to France – CHAID – Table output, November 2017
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Target groups, based on attitudes towards holidays to France – CHAID – Tree output, November 2017
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                          • Definition
                                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                • CHAID methodology